#1335: Rex “The Doctor” Lewis



“Rex is the chief experimental doctor for M.A.R.S. Industries and developer of advanced nanotechnology. Disfigured in an explosion, he relies on life support equipment as he launches a diabolical plan to satisfy his thirst for power and revenge. ”

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra isn’t a particularly well-regarded movie.  It definitely took some…different approaches to the source material.  I myself kind of enjoyed the movie, but with the caveat that I liked it as it’s own, separate thing.  It’s a good spy-flick, but the Joe label is a bit misplaced.  Misplacing of labels seems to have gone around a lot in this movie.  I absolutely loved Joseph Gordon Levitt’s turn as Doctor Mindbender.  The only problem is that as it turns out, the mysteriously named “The Doctor,” despite checking off every mark for Mindbender (including the character’s signature monocle), is actually Cobra Commander.  Odd choice.  But hey, cool action figures, though!


Rex “The Doctor” Lewis was released in the third series of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra tie-in line, which hit a little while after the film’s release.  Presumably, he was in a later assortment so that the reveal that he was Baroness’s not-quite-dead brother Rex could be kept secret.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  The sculpt for the Doctor was all-new to him, and as far as I know, it’s not been re-used (well, apart from the labcoat, which has shown up on a few figures).  The sculpt is certainly different.  Hasbro opted to not be 100% faithful to the film’s version of Rex, who dressed more like an actual scientist (well, apart from the headgear).  This figure has some sort of  Edward Scissorhands get-up.  Which, with the addition of the jacket, ends up looking about the same as the movie design anyway, so I guess it didn’t really matter.  The head stays pretty faithful, apart from the loss of the monocle thing.  The hair and breathing apparatus are both removable, allowing you to view the fully unmasked Rex, who actually looks a fair bit like Levitt in the scar make-up from the film.  Despite being removable, the hair and rebreather fit pretty tightly to the head, and look pretty decent overall, and they also both stay in place really well, which is a definite plus.  The paint on the Doctor is largely confined to the head (everything else is mostly black plastic).  The detail work is actually pretty great, and they convey the scarred nature of his skin quite nicely.  The Doctor is packed with a pair of claw gloves, a giant nanite-injector claw-thing, a pistol, a rifle, a briefcase with three containers of nanites, and a display stand with “THE DOCTOR” printed on it.  Not a bad assortment of extras!  The case with the nanites and the claw gloves are definitely my favorites, but they’re all pretty fun extras.


The Doctor was one of my favorite parts of Rise of Cobra, so I was a little dismayed that he wasn’t out when the film hit.  I patiently waited for his release, and ended up finding him at the local Walmart while grabbing some Christmas decorations with my Dad.  He’s one of the better entries in the Rise of Cobra line, and one of my favorite modern-era Joes in general.  Not bad for a figure from a movie nobody likes!


#1075: Grand Slam




GI Joe as a franchise has always been subject to change.  Despite being the creators of the action figure market, Hasbro has spent the better part of their 50+ years with the franchise playing catch-up to the rest of the industry.  In the early 00s, anime was hitting pretty big with the hip kids in the US, and Hasbro tried to cash in on that fad via Sigma 6, an anime-styled retooling of the Real American Hero incarnation of the line.  Though the line initially started out rather focused on a small selection of characters, towards its end, many of the old mainstays from the ‘80s line were added to expand the line-up a bit.  One such character was Grand Slam, one of the earliest Joes in the ‘80s line.


grandslam2Grand Slam was released in the first 2007 Commando wave of GI Joe: Sigma 6.  Though the figures up to this point had been based on the corresponding Sigma 6 cartoon, Grand Slam was a design totally original to the toy line (it’s possible he was set to appear later in the cartoon, prior to its cancellation).  The figure is about 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Grand Slam was deliberately introduced into the line with the intent of re-using the already existing Heavy Duty molds, so the fact that he uses a lot of HD’s parts isn’t a huge surprise.  He uses the torso, arms, hands, and boots from HD. Those parts were cool the first time around, and they were still cool here, if rather on the stylized side.  The flip-up comm link still remains one of my favorite features from this line.  Grand Slam also gets his own head and leg sculpts. The head is, obviously, there to make it clear he’s a new character (though that would become less and less common on new characters as the line continued).  It’s somewhat generic, but works reasonably well for Grad Slam, and it’s well-fitted to the body.  The legs are the result of a change in style as the line progressed.  Initially figures made use of cloth parts for things like coats, vests, and even pants.  By the time Grand Slam came along, Hasbro had started aiming for more conventional action figure sculpts, so Grand Slam’s pants are sculpted rather than tailored.  This does the figure a lot of favors, in my opinion.  Not only does it differentiate him a bit more from HD, but it also allows his look to be a bit more consistent, stylistically.  Plus, they’ve got a lot of really great detail worked into them, which adds a bit more character to what could be an otherwise rather generic figure.    The paintwork on this guy is fairly decent, if not anything particularly outstanding.  By this point, the line had mostly given up on the wacky bright colors, so Grand Slam sticks to mostly drab greens and browns.  It’s not thrilling, but it’s still rather appealing.  As a Commando figure, Grand Slam originally included a whole bunch of extras, the only of which I actually have is his set of metal dog tags.


I was initially very excited by the change to Sigma 6, but fairly quickly lost interest because of how difficult it was to find many of the figures.  Grand Slam was released a good ways after I’d stopped collecting the line, so I didn’t get him at retail.  I actually found him just a couple of months ago at the 2nd Avenue near where I live.  He was only a few bucks and was just laying there sans accessories, so I figured why not? He’s a pretty cool figure, actually, and I’m glad I picked him up.  He actually did a bit to reinvigorate my interest in my Sigma 6 figures.  Which may not be the best thing…

#0948: Cobra Viper




To be a successful evil organization, you need to have a few metric tons of faceless goons. Nothing says evil like some faceless goons! Evil terrorist organization Cobra (the ones that fight G.I. Joe, not the ones who sell health insurance) are practically the kings of the faceless goon: they’ve got a squad of them for just about every occasion! When the basic Cobra Troopers aren’t quite enough, then it’s time to send in the *slightly* more advanced Cobra Vipers! Let’s take a look at one of them today!


Viper25th2The Cobra Viper was released in the 2008 assortment of the G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary line. It’s the 16th version of the Viper Hasbro’s released, and it’s based on the classic Viper design from way back in 1986. The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. While some of the 25th Anniversary figures made tweaks to the original designs, the Viper is a pretty shot-for-shot recreation of the original toy. The only real change is the move to slightly more realistic proportions (though that head’s a bit undersized). The general quality of the sculpt is pretty good, with lots of really nice detail work. They’ve even made his vest and goggles removable, allowing for a bit more customization and detail than the original figures offered. However, the figure isn’t without some rather notable flaws. First and foremost, there’s the hands. The Viper’s wrists are oddly contorted, which I assume is to allow him to hold his weapon, in theory at least. In practice, this doesn’t work, leaving him with very strangely positioned hands that can barely hold the included gun. Also, the separate goggles, while cool, are incredibly hard to keep in place, due to being just a touch too small for the head. On the plus side, the paint work here is pretty solid. The colors are all nice and vibrant and everything is applied very cleanly. They’ve even added some detail not present on the original, to help add a bit more depth to the design. The Viper includes his standard issue rifle and a Cobra-insignia-ed display stand with his code name printed on it. I do wish the rifle was molded in something other than that weird off-white, but it’s a fairly nice recreation of his original gun.


I actually own three Vipers, all gotten at different times. I picked up the first one loose from All Time Toys, when I was on my first 25th Anniversary buying spree. The second came from Amazon so that I could get free shipping on another order. The final one was added much later, and I believe it also came from All Time Toys, though it was packaged. Is this Viper a perfect figure? No. The hands are pretty annoying, and there’s no real fix. The goggles, however, can be fixed with a small dab of superglue, so there’s that. The Viper’s my favorite human Cobra trooper, and this figure’s definitely serviceable. Hasbro’s produced far worse.


#0938: Action Marine



Marine1 (2)

1994 marked the 30th Anniversary of the original G.I. Joe figures. At the time, G.I. Joe was in a bit of an odd spot. The 3 ¾ inch line had started to die down, but the 12 inch line had not yet come back in full force. To celebrate the anniversary, Hasbro sort of combined the two, releasing the original 12-inch Joes, but this time in the smaller scale. Four years later, Fun 4 All, perhaps one of the only not-Hasbro-companies to ever do G.I. Joe toys, made use of Hasbro’s molds to produce a line of keychains…sort of. Yes, they had the key chain bits attached, but by-and-large, this felt like an excuse for Fun 4 All to produce a set of G.I. Joe figures. And why not? Well, let’s have a look at one of the “keychains” they produced, the Action Marine.


Marine2 (2)The Action Marine was one of the four keychains offered in Fun 4 All’s G.I. Joe: Classic Collection – Keychains line, offered starting 1998. All four keychains were fully articulated figures, which a detachable keychain piece (which is missing from my Action Marine. You can clearly see my main interest in these). The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. The sculpt of this figure is a slightly altered version of Hasbro’s Action Marine from 1994. The only real difference between the two (apart from the slightly lower quality of the plastic used by Fun 4 All) is the addition of a loop between the shoulder blades to allow for the keychain’s attachment. The overall sculpt isn’t bad. He’s more or less on par with any of the vintage 3 3/4-inch Joes. Some pieces of the sculpt seem a bit more rudimentary, most noticeably the shoulders, which don’t mesh together organically. In addition, the lower quality of the plastic means that some of the finer details from the original sculpt are lost, which gives him all around simpler look. Still, he’s far from horrible; certainly better than some other figures in the scale. In addition to the step down in plastic quality, there’s also a step down in the quality of the paint. It’s still not bad, mind you. The colors are appropriate, and the level of detail on the camo is decent. However, the paint has a tendency to chip, especially on the hands, and the application is rather on the sloppy side. The Action Marine included no accessories (beyond the detachable keychain, if you’re inclined to count that). A rifle or something would have been nice, but these were relatively low-price, so it’s not a shock.


When I was younger, I went in and out of periods of being into G.I. Joe. The earliest Joe I can remember getting for myself was actually one of these keychains, but it wasn’t the Marine, it was the Sailor. I ended up getting the Marine a few years later from a KB Toys (KB pretty much kept these guys in stock until they went out of business). I never really had any particular affinity to him, but he just sort of stuck with me. He actually got left at my Grandparents house for several years, and I found him a few months back while doing some cleaning. He’s not one of my favorites, and he won’t really be winning any awards, but he’s got a certain charm to him.

#0854: Sgt Stalker




G.I. Joe’s switch to the smaller scale is probably one of the most successful re-brandings ever. For most, those smaller figures simply are G.I. Joe. When the line was initially launched, there were 13 figures. They were all unique, but they were specifically designed to make the most of as little tooling as possible. Today’s subject, Sgt. Stalker, was among those 13, though he was just “Stalker” at the time. When it came time to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the smaller line, Stalker was chosen as the representative of the Original 13, with a reimagining of his first figure, in a more modern aesthetic.


Stalker30bSgt. Stalker was released in the first series of G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary figures. The actual anniversary year was 2012, but the 30th figures were rushed into the end of 2011, in order to make way for the G.I. Joe: Retaliation toys. Of course, Retaliation was then pushed back to 2013, making the rushed release of the 30th figures completely pointless. Yay. The figure is a little over 3 ¾ inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. While the later series of the line would release a wide variety of newly sculpted parts, the first series got by on as much re-use as possible, and Stalker was not exempt. The head is re-used from the Resolute version of the character. My feelings on this are a bit mixed. While it’s not a bad head at all, it has the Resolute design’s dreadlocks. Those fit in fine with the more exaggerated Resolute designs, but they look just a bit out of place on the more realistic figure, especially one that’s supposed to be an update on his original figure. The rest of the figure is repurposed from one of the Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes figures. That figure was itself meant to be an update on Snake Eyes’ original figure, and given that the original Snake Eyes and Stalker figures used the same body sculpt, this actually makes a lot of sense. It helps that it’s a really nicely sculpted body, with some amazing small detail work, especially on the underlying turtleneck piece. The body is so Stalker30cattentive to detail that it even has removable knee-pads, which is a pretty awesome touch. To differentiate him a bit from Snake Eyes, Stalker gets a different web gear piece, which was first seen on the Jungle Patrol Dutch Duke from PoC. Stalker’s paint is fairly decent, and is clearly meant to emulate his original design, but I can’t help but feel he’s a bit drab, especially when compared to some of the other 30th figures. Still, he doesn’t look bad at all. Perhaps the figure’s strongest suit is his accessory complement. He has a submachine gun, a pistol with a removable silencer, a pistol without silencer, a machete, a knife, a small sword, and a display stand with his name on it.


By the time the 30th figures starting hitting, I had long since realized that finding the G.I. Joes I wanted in stores was not a thing that would be happening. So, I had resorted to ordering full sets of each series from Big Bad Toy Store. I hadn’t planned on getting Stalker at first, being content with the Resolute figure, but I wanted the rest of Series 1, so I got him anyway. I’m actually really glad I got him. Yes, I’d have liked for him to get a new head, but other than that (honestly minor) issue, he’s a pretty darn fun figure, who reminds me just why I loved this line so much.

#0740: Snake Eyes – Commando




When most people think of Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe, I’m pretty sure the default thing that pops into people’s heads is the whole “ninja” thing. It’s kind of become a defining trait of the character.  That’s actually pretty funny, because he wasn’t originally a ninja. His official designation was commando, and his original figure didn’t even include a sword! Over the years, Snake Eyes has gone up and down the scale of ninja-ness, as Hasbro tries to bring him back to his original roots as just a faceless commando, but it never sticks. Still, it results in some interesting figures!


SnakeEyes90s2Snake Eyes was a part of the first series of Dollar General exclusive G.I. Joe figures. Yes, that does seem like an odd place to sell exclusive action figures. Just go with it, I guess. Also, point of reference, this is 59th version of Snake Eyes in the small scale line. That’s a whole lot of Snake Eyeseseses. The figure stands roughly 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. This figure is meant to replicate the somewhat unique look of the fourth version of character, released in 1991. It was the first attempt on Hasbro’s part to take Snake Eyes back to being a commando, before they threw caution to the wind and went full on Ninja Force. This figure has been constructed entirely from re-used parts. Most of them are from the 25th Anniversary update of the third Snake Eyes figure, with a few other assorted pieces thrown in. There’s also an add-on piece for his web gear, which I believe is also a re-use, but I’m not sure from where. The end result is a figure that looks kind of like the original figure, like if you squint or something, but isn’t anywhere near as accurate as some of the other entries in the line. That said, the pieces all work pretty well together, and he still looks pretty cool, so it’s hard to really complain. The paint on this guy certainly does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of conveying the design this is based upon. That figure was pretty distinct with this color palate, playing up the whole “American Hero” part of the title a bit more. This one does a pretty serviceable job of capturing the look. The colors have been toned down ever so slightly, but the overall look is still there. Snake Eyes was packed with a katana and a black display stand.


I never had any luck finding this guy at Dollar General, so I kind of missed out on him for a while. I ended up finding him at nearby small toy shop All Time Toys. I never actually cared all that much for the original figure of this design, so I really don’t mind the changes Hasbro made. He’s a pretty nifty toy, and that color scheme certainly sets him apart from the other Joes!

#0720: Lifeline




Despite having quite a high appreciation for G.I. Joe and its many military themed characters, I wouldn’t really consider myself a particularly military-minded person. As such, my favorite figures are very frequently those who deviate a bit more from the military structure of the line. One of my favorite characters from the line is Lifeline, who was one of the team’s medics and happened to be a pacifist, which definitely made him a little different from the rest of the Joes, and gave him a nice bit of contrast.


LifelineVint2The original Lifeline was released in the 1986 series of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (which, having looked into for the purposes of my review, may well be one of my favorite Series of ARAH. That was a good year). This Lifeline, however, is actually the exclusive Rice Krispies mail-in offer version of the character from 1991. The two are almost identical, but there’s one difference between them that I’ll get to in a moment. Lifeline, like all good G.I. Joes, stand 3 ¾ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Lifeline has a sculpt that is very much in line with the rest of his vintage compatriots. Sure, it’s not quite up to modern sensibilities of action figures, and there’s a bit of hokeyness to the sculpt, but it’s certainly a nicely detailed sculpt. Plus, it just has a certain charm to it. Lifeline has a helmet and a pair of sunglasses, so his face is a little hard to see, but what we do see looks nice and friendly, which certainly is befitting of the pacifist medic. So, about that minor change; yeah, Kellogg’s wasn’t super eager to have their mail-away figure sporting a firearm, so, in addition to dropping the original’s included handgun from the accessories list, they also had Hasbro change the figure’s legs to remove the holstered gun on his thigh. The final figure’s legs are shared with the 1985 Frostbite figure. The change isn’t a really big deal, what with the whole pacifist thing mentioned above. The only real issue is that the straps on the figure’s waist, which originally connected to his holster and a pouch on his right leg now just end with the waist piece. It’s a little odd, but admittedly not super obvious unless you’re looking right at it. Lifeline’s paintwork is pretty straightforward; the reds are molded plastic and the whites and silvers are painted on. While my figure sports a little bit of wear from play (that’ll happen to figures from the time before collectors started having the hermetically sealed), the paintwork is overall pretty clean, and I like the “RESCUE” printed on the left leg in particular.  While he may have lost his handgun, the mail-away Lifeline certainly isn’t lacking in terms of accessories. He includes a backpack that looks to double as a transmitter of some sort, as well as a rescue pack, befitting his status as a field medic.


My appreciation for Lifeline came a little while after I got into G.I. Joe. He wasn’t amongst the Joes chosen to be updated for the 2000s incarnation of the line, so I had no figure of him, and therefore, no initial knowledge of the character. However, I got to know the character through his comic and cartoon appearances, which is how I came to really appreciate him, even if I didn’t have a figure. This figure is actually a fairly recent acquisition, having been picked up from a cool little store nearby called 2nd Chance Toyz. I didn’t realize until after getting him that he was the mail-in version, but I can’t say I mind, truth be told. Lifeline is very definitely a toy of his time, but I’m glad to have him in my collection.

#0700: Joe Colton




Hey! I made it to 700 reviews! Cool! Alright, it’s another milestone, so, faithful readers know it’s time for another Deluxe Review! Let’s take another dip into the world of high-end collecting, courtesy of Hot Toys.

Now, G.I. Joe is the very first action figure, and it’s also completely owned by toymakers Hasbro. It’s very rare that one toy company allows another to make toys from an in house property, especially Hasbro, who are notorious for not even letting other companies anywhere near licenses that they merely hold, not own outright. So it was a bit of a shock when they allowed Sideshow to make 12-inch versions of their A Real American Hero characters, and even more of a shock when they let Hot Toys have the license for 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. They only made a small handful of figures, one of them being Bruce Willis’ Joe Colton, namesake of the G.I. Joe team.


Colton3Joe Colton is another figure from HT’s main Movie Masterpiece Series. He was technically an exclusive to San Diego Comic Con 2013, though he wasn’t actually available at the con; he just went up on the Sideshow site shortly after. So, he really wasn’t much different from a normal release. He’s figure number 206, putting him right between fellow exclusives “Star Spangled Man” Captain America and Evil Superman. The figure stands roughly 12 inches tall and has “over 30 points of articulation” according to Sideshow’s website. I’ll trust them on that. Joe is, obviously, based on his appearance from G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Specifically, he’s presented as he looks during the film’s big climactic fight scene (more or less).

Let’s start things off by taking a look at the head sculpt. It’s another fantastic piece of work from Hot Toys. The likeness is absolutely spot-on to Willis, right down to his slight, sarcastic sneering, grin. The lack of any sort of hair adds actually adds to the realism of the figure, and it helps that HT’s managed to get Willis’ head shape down pretty much exactly. The paint on the head lives up to the sculpt, further enhancing the likeness, and adding even more to the realism.

Colton2Joe’s costume is a pretty cool little nod to the history of G.I. Joe, actually. It’s based on the uniform of the Adventure Team Commander from the G.I. Joe: Adventure Team line from the 70s, who, by extension of appearing to be the same guy as the original Joe, is the guy Colton is supposed to represent. The outfit is made up of three main pieces, a t-shirt, a pair of combat pants, and jacket, as well as an assortment of additional parts, including two different belts, hip and shoulder holsters, and a pair of boots. The boots are sculpted pieces; they’re pretty nicely detailed, though they seem harder and less movable than previous boots. The holsters are also sculpted, and they fit their corresponding guns pretty well. The rest of the outfit is made up of tailored parts.  Everything fits pretty well on the body, though maybe not quite as perfectly as I’d like. The jacket in particular feels just a bit bulky when placed on the figure. That said, most of outfit sits very nicely with a minor amount of futzing. In an odd move for a HT figure, the pants of Joe’s uniform are just a bit inaccurate to the film; the right leg is permanently tucked into the boot, which is odd, and the left leg sports a kneepad not seen in the film, which cannot be removed. I’m not sure why HT decided to do these things; one would assume the more accurate straight green pants would have been easier to produce.

Joe makes use of one of HT’s more posable bodies. It also happens to be the body that balances look and posability the best of HT’s standard bodies, which makes it a good choice. The only real drawback is that the body uses a rather obvious set of double joints at the elbows, which is a bit of a bummer if you want to display him without the jacket. That said, the movement allowed by these joints is essential to him properly holding his weapons, making it a worthy trade-off.

Colton5Joe includes a decent selection of extra pieces, though he was lighter than some others. He included:

  • 6 different hands
  • Machine gun
  • Spare Magazine
  • Shot gun
  • 3 pistols
  • 5 ammo clips
  • Display stand

The hands come in a nice variety of poses, with basic relaxed (R and L), trigger finger (R and L), gun holding (R), and fist (L). The hands are very realistically sculpted and painted, and each fulfill their intended purpose quite well. Willis is left-handed, so I was happy to see the gun grip hand was his right, allowing him to hold the guns as he actually would. That seems like it should be a given, but the poor T-1000 didn’t even get a proper left-handed trigger finger, so you never know.

The machine gun is very nicely handled. It’s exact model is a SCAR-L*. It has a removable clip and a folding stock, as well as a strap, allowing it to be slung over his arm. It’s impressively detailed, with tons sculpt and paintwork, all of which do a good job of passing this off as a miniaturized version of the real thing.

The shot gun is my personal favorite of the weapons, mostly due to it being his most used weapon from the film, and it just working very well visually with the figure. It’s the Benelli M4*. It’s admittedly not quite as exciting as the machine gun, since it’s a more simplistic design to begin with. Still, it’s got a moving stock and a spring-loaded breach and it looks pretty cool in his hands.

The three pistols are mostly just there to fill the three corresponding holsters. Two of the three are identical, and the third isn’t far off. All three are Colt 1911s*. They’re well sculpted, and they have moving slides and removable clips, which is always cool. Unfortunately, the included trigger fingers aren’t really optimized for a smaller weapon, so he really can’t hold them all that well.

The ammo clips are the same as the ones in the three pistols, placed into nice little sculpted holders. They can be hung on is belts, or removed if you so choose.

The display stand is fairly run of the mill. It’s just the basic black oval stand, with a little tag for his name and the film’s logo printed on the base.


Like so many of my Hot Toys figures, Joe was pre-ordered from the online store of Sideshow Toys, the North American distributor for HT’s stuff. He ended up being the last thing I ordered from their site, and in fact, I almost cancelled the pre-order. Not because I didn’t want him or anything, but because I had gradually been moving away from HT. I’m glad I never got around to cancelling it, since he’s actually a pretty cool figure.

*Thanks to Tim Marron, of Timsical Thoughts, for helping me ID the specific models of the guns.


#0688: Storm Shadow




G.I. Joe: Retaliation was….ummm….well, it was a movie with G.I. Joe in the title. It was also about 90 minutes long. It was shot using cameras. It had a script, with words even. Was it a good movie? No, not especially. It had its moments, but that’s really the best that can be said. On the plus side, Hasbro did make a line of figures to go with it, and they didn’t totally suck. Let’s look at Storm Shadow, one of the film’s many ninjas and just the worst human prop of all time.


StormShadowR2Storm Shadow was released as part of the first series of G.I. Joe: Retaliation figures. You know, the ones that came out a full year before the film’s release due to Paramount pushing back the movie’s release date at the last minute? Yeah, fun times. Technically, he’s based on Storm Shadow from the movie, but, in reality, he’s a mostly made up design. Granted, I like it more that the movie design, so I’m not complaining. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. Unlike several of the early Retaliation figures, Storm Shadow didn’t have any points of articulation cut, so he retains full movement, which is a definite plus. Structurally, the figure sported a brand-new sculpt. As noted above, it’s not really accurate to the movie’s design. That being said, it’s actually a pretty sound sculpt, with nice proportions and lots of fun detail work. Interestingly, though he’s a movie figure, he seems a bit more stylized than other figures, to the point that he almost seems like he’d be more at home with the Resolute or Renegades figures. It’s nothing really overt or anything, but there’s definitely a bit of flair to this guy. One small nit: his collar is a separate piece, and it doesn’t fit exactly to the body, making it rather obviously a separate piece. It’s slightly annoying. The paintwork on Storm Shadow is pretty decent overall. It’s nothing too fancy, but the grey accents are nice and the small bit of flesh tone and the eyes are pretty clean. The Cobra logo is well done, though it’s actually inaccurate, since (SPOILER) Storm Shadow is no longer affiliated with Cobra in Retaliation. The figure was packed with two swords (one long, one short), a backpack that holds them, and one of Hasbro’s signature oversized missile launchers. Yay!


I mostly skipped out on the Retaliation stuff when it was released, mostly due to being unable to find the few figures I actually wanted from the line and then not really caring enough to buy them when I did find them months later. So, why do I have Storm Shadow? Clearance. He was $3 at Toys R Us, and I was already buying other things, so he felt worth it. (Also, Super Awesome Girlfriend was with me at the time and she will literally not let me put an action figure back.)  After opening him and playing around with him a bit? He was definitely worth it.

#0675: Recondo




You can’t really run an effective action figure review site if you don’t occasionally touch on the original action figure, G.I. Joe. It’s been a fair few months since I last looked at anything Joe-related, so their probably overdue for another review, don’t you think? I’ll be taking another gander at the early 2000s re-launch of the line, which is really what got me hooked. Let’s look at Recondo, who was one of my favorites.


Recondo2Recondo was released in the first series of G.I. Joe vs Cobra following the line’s re-branding under the G.I. Joe: Spy Troops heading in 2003. He was originally released in a two-pack with an Iron Grenadier, but he was also released as one of the Mission Disk single-pack figures, which is how I got mine. Recondo is one of the taller vs Cobra Joes, coming in at just shy of 4 inches tall. He featured 18 points of articulation, which was pretty impressive at the time (and still kind of is now!) Recondo got an all-new design for Spy Troops, which was a pretty radical departure from his vintage design. Now, I never owned the vintage Recondo, so this was my first exposure to the character. Due to that, I find myself liking this particular design a fair bit more than the original. That said, this design is a little more generic, and does ditch some of the original’s charm, so I can certainly see why people might have wanted a return to the classic design. The figure’s sculpt is very nicely handled, regardless of which design it represents. The proportions are some of the best the 00s line had to offer and his uniform has a ton of awesome little details put into it, especially on the torso, which houses a pistol, grenade, and several pouches for ammo. The paintwork is also pretty great on Recondo. Aside from a minor issue with his sleeves being fleshtoned at the elbows, everything is nice and clean and where it’s supposed to be. And, none of the things on the torso have been left unpainted, which is always a nice thing to see! Recondo was packed with a rifle, knife, and backpack, as well as the Mission Disk, which featured two episodes of the 80s cartoon and a few games.


When the first series of Spy Troops two-packs were first announced, I knew I wanted the Recondo set. He just looked really cool. But, for whatever reason, I never got him (I got several of the other sets, though), and then he had mostly disappeared from stores. However, while on a mall outing with my Grandmother, I found Recondo and Wild Bill in their single-pack form at KB Toys. Man do I miss that place. Anyway, Recondo went on to be one of my favorite figures. I’m happy to see he’s held up pretty well!